It's Only Rock and Roll: An Anthology of Rock and Roll Short Stories

Janice Eidus, Editor, John Kastan, Editor
Janice Eidus, Editor, John Kastan, Editor David R. Godine Publisher $16.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56792-089-5
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
How different this anthology would be if it had been published in, say, 1972, when rock and roll still had its messianic buzz. Twenty-five years later we have a book of 22 stories about rock in which not a single character even thinks about doing acid. If that makes you feel, well, old, welcome to the overriding theme of the book. Jill McCorkle captures the mood here in the wonderful ""Final Vinyl Days"" (also the title of her current collection from Algonquin), in which the narrator, a mid-30s male rock aficionado, experiences both the phasing-out of real records and the parallel rejection (by a series of girlfriends) of his alternative, non-advancing lifestyle. In a similar vein, the 35-year-old father in Geoffrey Becker's ""Bluestown"" (from his novel of that name) removes his 15-year-old son from high school for an unauthorized journey to Canada, ostensibly to share his last shot at a steady gig but really in a hurtful effort to overcome his own sense of failure. Then there is the mood of rueful mundaneness in Madison Smartt Bell's ""Never Mind,"" covering a day in the life of a ""covers"" band, whose members know that it will never make the big time. Still, all is not resignation. More upbeat tales include Kevin Downs's funny story of how an ex-punker came to love that schlock classic, Led Zeppelin's ""Stairway to Heaven""; Harold Jaffee's stream-of-consciousness post-gonzo rant ""Madonna""; and Lucinda Ebersole's throwaway, ""Bigger Than Jesus,"" about a man who wakes up as a Beatle--Ringo, of course. (Sept.)
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